8. Chapter – The school of the French Foreign Legion

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Legionnaires running at the school of the French Foreign Legion

The first 4 weeks have already passed of the basic trainings. I didn’t find the best word which could describe a day in Castelnaudary. The days are not average or normal at all, but I’m still going to try to explain you how days went by in the “school” of the French Foreign Legion.

The chedule in Castelnaudary during the basic trainings

  • 05.30: wake up, getting dressed, arranging the bed, cleaning the room
  • 06.00: first assembly, called “appel” in French. It’s just to control if nobody deserted during the night and is only concerning legionnaires and corporals.
  • 06.15: breakfast
  • 06.30: cleaning the company and the section
  • 07.00: “corvee quartier”, which means collecting the trash around the company’s building
  • 07.45: company assembly and sport right after
  • 09.30: beginning of the work (in case of a short distance running), theoretical or practical courses
  • 11.30: “apero”, which means physical exercises before lunch (pull-ups, push-ups, cord, abdominals)
  • 12.00: lunch
  • 12.30: cleaning the company and the section again
  • 13.00: “corvee quartier”
  • 13.30: company assembly. Generally at the afternoons we were preparing something for the next terrains or we had courses (French lessons, for example).
  • 17.30: apero before dinner
  • 18.00: dinner
  • 19.00: cleanings (company, section, rooms)

After 7PM we had to stay in our rooms and learn what we saw during the courses. The program mostly depended on the actual mood of corporal of the day.

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The corporals

With the Tahitian we were usually singing or learning. The Nepalian made us to clean the section or left us in our room for learning. The English sometimes took us down to do crossfit and the Kazakh left us at the corridor for hours with a book. Sometimes he came out from his room to have us make some push-ups because of those who were standing against the wall.

The coolest day was always Sunday.

At the morning the sergent of the day came by and we went to the pool for swimming. That was one of the things I enjoyed the most in Castel.

Sometimes they just left us to swim for an hour. It always made me relax and became a bit happier. 

On Sundays, after lunch we had 2 hours of siesta and at the afternoon we could use the call-box to phone back home. It happened 4 or 5 times during the basic trainings. Naturally, those who did banan during the week had to guard the toilets.

We got our first services also as well. Some of us had to do guard at the entry of the regiment, a team was patrolling in the sensible areas, and two groups were working at the restaurants. One in the castle were the officers and NCOs are eating and one in the legionnaires’ canteen.

Naturally, the guard at the entry was the most stressful, because they had to iron their clothes. The chief of that service was the Romanian sergent who was shouting at the legionnaires for a week because he wasn’t satisfied with their chemise.

The week after the farm, we had our first shooting with real bullets.

We got an hour of preparation before on a computer. A corporal-chef explained us how to aim correctly with a FAMAS and we could try the technic on a simulator with a console which was exactly like our weapon.

My performance was pretty good on the computer, but I wasn’t that bad in real shooting either. The regiment has a 200m long covered shooting-range with computers. For the first time we set our FAMAS with the instructors because the half of the section didn’t understand at all how to do it.

My first results were average, but I was already happy that I wasn’t the worst.

That place came to the Italian guy who started the séance with 6 bullets in automatic mode, which was strictly forbidden in a covered range.

The Russian sergent-chef has quickly planted his own rifle in his helmet and sent the guy back to the caserne after 100 push-ups.

Those who had a driving license in civil could pass a test in Castel to validate in the army. It could have been an advantage for me, because I already had mine since a while, but when it was my turn I didn’t realize a stop sign and failed the test in less than 20 seconds.

Our next stop during the basic trainings was Formiguères, a village at the French-Spanish border in the Pyrenees. 

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  1. Hello, how many weeks in total is the basic training and how do someone know the right regiment to chose??

    • Hey, it’s around 16 weeks. All of the regiments are good, your choice depends much more on what you want and which specialty interests you.

    • Yes. If you can’t swim 25 meters at least, you’ll be inapte temporaire and you can go home.

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